South Korea’s history textbook row taken to court

Seoul, Dec 22 (IANS) A group of lawyers filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court on Tuesday over the South Korean government’s move to reintroduce state-authored history textbooks for secondary school students.

The Lawyers for a Democratic Society claim that the government’s decision to publish national textbooks violates the constitution, which stipulates autonomy in education, The Korea Herald reported.

Late September, the government announced it would revise the current textbook publication system so that middle and high school students will learn Korean history through national textbooks starting in 2017.

Currently, history textbooks for secondary schools are published by eight private publishing companies and subject to government approval for use, while primary schools have a single set of state-authored history textbooks.

The group argued that the government’s move to monopolise the interpretation of history infringes on parents’ rights to make decisions about their children’s education and teachers’ rights in their classes.

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